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Funeral for Edwin Lionel Berkowitz

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Funeral: Date Not Set
Home of Peace Cemetery - Colma
1299 El Camino Real
Colma, CA 94014

Edwin Lionel Berkowitz passed away at the age of 89 on September 22, 2023. He was surrounded by his family at his home in San Francisco, the city where he and his wife, Patricia Bransten Berkowitz, have lived since the beginning of their 63-year marriage. Born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, he studied in the United States from the age of 14. After graduating from Kentucky Military Institute, he obtained his BS degree from Purdue University and his MS degree in from MIT, both in Chemical Engineering.

In 1961, Ed joined the family firm of MJB Company, where he served as Executive Vice President until its sale to Nestle in 1985. Later, he became enthusiastically involved in the Asian Art Museum, serving on its Board of Directors. In that capacity, he served on the New Asian Project Committee, overseeing the conversion of the Old Main Library building into the Asian Art Museum at Civic Center, which opened in 2003. For many years, until the time of his death, he served on the Asian Art Commission of the City of San Francisco.

Additionally, Ed lent his considerable experience to numerous businesses and organizations, serving on the boards of Rolling Stone Magazine, The San Francisco Jewish Community Center, where he was its President, the United Jewish Community Centers, Congregation Emanu-El and The Concordia Argonaut Club. In later years, he focused on investing in early-stage companies with The Angels' Forum of Palo Alto.

Ed was an adventurous traveler along with his wife Pat, sharing a special interest in global art and culture. He was also an avid reader who enjoyed an expansive range of genres. He was known for his wide-ranging intellect, business acumen, forthrightness, and wisdom. He always said, "It's not what happens to you in life, it's how you deal with it."

In addition to his wife, Ed is survived by three children, Leslie van der Wal (Pete), Kay Berkowitz, Edwin Isador Berkowitz (Maryann) and seven grandchildren, Louis van der Wal, Lia Ramey; Summer, Jasmine and Maya Dow; and Allison and Jack Berkowitz.

Private funeral services have been held. There will be a celebration of Ed's life in the coming months. For details, please send an email to

Memorial donations may be made to the Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102, or the charity of your choice.